Coaches don't always make or break an NFL team. But like quarterbacks, they're more influential than most. And some teams have clearly benefited from their sideline gurus more than others in 2022. Just ask fans in the NFC West, who've engaged in weekly debates over the decision-making of younger head coaches like Brandon Staley and Nathaniel Hackett.
With Week 7 on deck, here's a look at the latest big-name coaches to take big steps forward or backward:
Trending up: Nick Sirianni (Eagles)
Remember when this guy was getting clowned for an awkward opening press conference? On Sunday, he was literally barking "F--- you!" to the Cowboys sideline, cementing himself as Philly's own. More importantly, Sirianni had his unbeaten team prepared and disciplined for a prime-time rivalry; his Eagles have not once lost their cool or been fazed by their own hiccups this year. He's up to 6-0 while empowering Jalen Hurts, calling solid situational strategy and living vicariously through their opportunistic defense.
Trending down: Matt LaFleur (Packers)
We're not ready to write off his squad, but there's been a glaring lack of, well, everything on his preferred side of the ball. Where is the consistency? The strategy? The fundamentals? Aaron Rodgers' presence ensures they won't be a steady pushover, but if LaFleur isn't going to convince the higher-ups to get his man a real receiving corps, he'd better live up to his repeated promises to feed Aaron Jones, or else find a way to shore up the faltering defense and special teams as well.
Trending up: Leslie Frazier (Bills)
The sage Frazier was never really "down," as Buffalo has only allowed more than 20 points in one game this year. But his unit has been particularly nasty the past two weeks, helping preserve a rout of the Steelers before getting to Patrick Mahomes at just the right moments in Week 6's most anticipated matchup. Travis Kelce had his way, sure, but when doesn't he? The underrated MVP of the Bills' big win at Arrowhead was Frazier's group logging two clutch picks on maybe the best QB in the game.
Trending down: Dennis Allen (Saints)
You can only blame a coach so much for an injury-riddled roster, but there are precious few things to brag about almost halfway through Allen's first year as an apparent placeholder for the post-Sean Payton era. Torn between a battered Jameis Winston and a backup-caliber Andy Dalton at quarterback, his biggest issue has been playing it safe in the wrong spots and failing to generate a stop on defense, the side of football from whence he hails. His team may well get worse before it gets better.
Trending up: Robert Saleh (Jets)
Many of us laughed when Saleh insisted he'd be "keeping receipts" of those who doubted Gang Green, but now he's free to laugh at us. It's anyone's guess how long they can keep stacking victories with Zach Wilson doing his best to stay in the background of their offense, but that's also a credit to Saleh getting the absolute most out of his ground game and rejuvenated defense during their three-game streak. Beating the Packers is one thing; routing them in Green Bay with confidence is another.
Trending down: Byron Leftwich (Buccaneers)
Todd Bowles is the head man running the show, so he deserves just as much blame. But Leftwich somehow manages to escape much national attention as a culprit for their sluggish performance despite employing the greatest QB of all time. Yes, injuries have taken a massive toll on Brady's supporting cast, but Leftwich has also put more on Brady's shoulders by following the Zac Taylor blueprint of predictable, conservative play-calling on early downs. Where's Bruce Arians when you need him?